Frequency-dependent deformation of liquid crystal droplets in an external electric field
Max-Planck-Institut für Polymerforschung, Ackermannweg 10, 55128, Mainz, Germany
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Revised: 28 October 2009
Accepted: 5 November 2009
Published online: 9 December 2009
Nematic droplets suspended in the isotropic phase of the same substance were subjected to alternating electrical fields of varying frequency. To keep the system at a constant nematic/isotropic volume ratio with constant droplet size, we carefully kept the temperature in the isotropic/nematic coexistence region, which was broadened by adding small amounts of a non-mesogenic liquid. Whereas the nematic droplets remained spherical at low (in the order of 10 Hz) and high frequencies (in the order of 1 kHz), at intermediate frequencies we observed a marked flattening of the droplets in the plane perpendicular to the applied field. Droplet deformation occurred both in liquid crystals (LCs) with positive and negative dielectric anisotropy. The experimental data can be quantitatively modelled with a combination of the leaky dielectric model and screening of the applied electric field due to finite conductivity.
© EDP Sciences, SIF, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg, 2009